Last September we stayed at Villa Centofinestre for several days.. an early 18th c villa in the remote Le Marche area of Italy. A long winding drive down from sunny and well farmed Tuscany, through the huge misty Apennine mountains and into the remoteness of Italy’s eastern coastline. Let me just say we were primed for the bustle of Rome after a few days in this quiet wilderness. The Villa was 15 miles from the beaches and Roman ruins of Ancona, and the coastline drive was infinitely less touristy than all that we had experienced from Portofino to Amalfi in previous trips. Back at the villa, it was magical to be the sole inhabitants…besides the caretakers…having the entire top floor to ourselves. In the photos below you can see the dawn slowly breaking as viewed from our balcony. In the formal rooms below, the Venetian glass chandelier took center stage in a fabulous ground floor ballroom…under it’s incredible coffered ceiling with inset gold rosettes…my favorite feature. More photos on the Villa Centofinestre website here as well as a montage at the end of the post of my own favorite views of ceiling frescos, architectural features, the beautiful robin’s egg blue of their painted doors and even some lovely ruins in the Villa’s own backyard, covered in wisteria. The major ground floor rooms are opened up for wedding parties and curious villa guests.
I am keeping very busy this Summer, up to my elbows in closets inside, and shoulder to shoulder with the bees outside as I clip more than 50 lavender bushes. As much as I love collecting, I enjoy resorting and letting go. In the garden as well, sometimes the wild tangle of beauty needs to be pulled back. With the drought in California, I am prioritizing: Lavender, antique roses, the espaliered apple trees, and a 12 year old Gardenia topiary tree that offers me 2 or 3 blooms a day. More on my lavender crop soon!